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Black Tea vs Green Tea

by tladm for Tea

Tea, derived from the camellia sinensis plant, comes in various forms, including black tea, green tea, oolong tea, yellow tea and white tea. Whilst black tea is more…

Black Tea vs Green Tea

Black Tea vs Green Tea

The Big Life Black Tea vs Green Tea

It is not easy at all to maintain a healthy eating lifestyle. Unhealthy food is easily accessible, affordable and sometimes the taste is hard to resist. Unfortunately, these foods can contain free radicals that can be detrimental to our cells and DNA. They can cause a quicker aging process which makes us look older and increases the risk of fatal diseases such as cancer, heart disease and stroke. To minimise these effects, it is recommended that we have a diet high in antioxidants. Tea is one of the simplest and effective sources that helps us achieve this.

Tea, derived from the camellia sinensis plant, comes in various forms, including black tea, green tea, oolong tea, yellow tea and white tea. Whilst black tea is more common in Sri Lanka, perhaps due to the bolder flavour and more stimulant nature, green tea has got a lot of attention worldwide. There is a certain perception that green tea is the healthier form of tea. However, is this accurate?

In the manufacturing process, the primary difference between black and green tea is in the fermentation or oxidation process. Black tea is fully oxidized, whereas in green tea, oxidation is minimal. This process changes the properties of tea leaves and therefore the nutrient capacity.

It is evident that green tea preserves the plant’s polyphenols or antioxidants in their natural state and these are known as catechins. In black tea, catechins are converted into other types of antioxidant properties called theaflavins and thearubigins. A joint study completed by the Seoul National University and Cornell University, compared the nutrient components in both green and black tea. It showed that green teas contained more phenols, a type of natural plant compounds found in tea and also more antioxidant capacity per serving. They concluded that green tea has more health benefits than an equal volume of black tea in terms of antioxidant capacity.

Green tea’s catechins are widely believed to be immensely beneficial for our wellbeing. However, theaflavins in black tea are also effective. Both catechins and theaflavins can provide protection against cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes plus, they have other pharmaceutical benefits such as antihypertensive, antioxidative and hypolipidemic activities.

Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the main form of catechins found in green tea, could be the component that separates green tea from black tea in terms of overall benefits. It is the component that provides most of the benefits indicated above. The Epigallocatechin gallate level in green tea is about 103 milligrams per gram and in black tea it is 24.7 mg/g.


Flavonoid content (mgag dry weight) of green and black tea extracts and of the green tea polyphenol isolate.
Source: de Maat, et al 2000

Studies have also shown that EGCG has powerful antiviral effects against a diverse range of viruses and this could be especially beneficial at the present time. One such virus that EGCG has evidently reduced is Adenovirus, a virus which causes cold-like symptoms, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia and pink eye (conjunctivitis). EGCG has also shown to significantly reduce the transmission possibility of influenza, another viral infection that attacks the respiratory system.

Tea polyphenols are also known for their antibacterial activity. According to research done by the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, antibacterial activity decreases when fermentation is increased, therefore stronger activity may be present in green tea than black tea. EGCG appears to play an important role in this process as well.

Additional research by the University with regards to weight management (citing Pan et al 2016) states that whilst both tea types have anti-obesity properties, the polyphenols in black tea may be more effective than those in green tea. According to the research, “black tea polyphenols inhibit lipid and saccharide digestion, absorption and intake, promote lipid metabolism and block pathological processes of obesity and the comorbidities of obesity by reducing oxidative stress”.

A majority of the above discussion indicates that green tea may be more superior to black tea for overall health benefits, EGCG being a main reason for this. Whilst most studies back this notion, it should be noted that one 2001 study (Leung et al 2001), indicates that black tea’s theaflavin can be equally as beneficial, although it may achieve results in non-identical ways.

Nonetheless, black or green tea, you wouldn’t go wrong with either choice if drunk regularly.

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